18 Chapter 18 – Nightmare

Nick waited for several hours in the horrible liquid.

 

During this time, he had a lot of time to think.

 

For example, he had thought about how he had ended up in this place.

 

Naturally, after being inside such a disgusting place for so long, Nick had questioned his life choices.

 

But in the end, Nick thought that it actually wasn't so bad. After all, he was currently trying to turn his life for the better.

 

The worse it was, the fewer regrets he would have in the future in case he decided to accept the Investigator job.

 

At least, he could say that he had even swam through a pool of piss and shit in an effort to become a Zephyx Extractor.

 

By now, it was deep in the night, but the sun still shone brightly in the sky.

 

Way fewer people were walking around above the grates, and Nick had also seen a drop in streams of piss and nuggets of shit coming down through the grates into the pool.

 

Yet, Nick still hadn't seen the Dreamer.

 

He constantly kept a lookout for its whereabouts, but Nick just couldn't find it anywhere.

 

'It should be 12 a.m. already,' Nick thought with furrowed brows. 'Most people should be asleep already, and there should be plenty of victims to choose from for the Dreamer.'

 

'Yet, I haven't seen anything fly around.'

 

'From this position, I can basically look at everything below the Dregs, but I still can't see anything flying around.'

 

Naturally, Nick grew worried.

 

Just to be safe, Nick waited for another two hours.

 

But still, nothing.

 

'It should be 2 a.m. now, but I still don't see anything.'

 

By now, even Nick's powerful and strengthened skin started to get itchy all over.

 

The liquid was a bit acidic, and Nick had been in it for over eight hours by now.

 

In the end, Nick surfaced with a helpless sigh.

 

'Since it's not flying around, this can basically mean only one thing.'

 

'Its nest is directly below its victim's home.'

 

'That means it doesn't need to fly around to feed.'

 

Nick looked around and focused on the several big and dark spots in his surroundings.

 

The direct beams of light coming from above Nick created shadowy squares when blocked by the houses of the Dregs.

 

In a way, they created shadows of the houses themselves.

 

But instead of being two-dimensional, it was like the shadows took up the entire space below the houses, creating a sort of black domain.

 

However, there were also a few houses with a couple of small grates, representing small spots of light.

 

These grates were mostly left in the houses as toilets.

 

'For now, I should focus on the houses with toilets.'

 

Nick created a map inside his head of the layout and started from the edge of the Dregs.

 

After swimming for a while, Nick stopped in front of the first dark place.

 

In front of Nick was a shadowy area, around twenty meters wide and fifty meters long.

 

There were two grates in that area of darkness.

 

Naturally, houses in the Dregs didn't get that big. This was simply a small block of houses with two toilets.

 

Nick took a deep breath.

 

And then, he swam forward.

 

Nick directly swam towards the beam of light in front of him, but he also kept looking around for the Dreamer.

 

He saw several pillars and even a ruin jotting out of the pool around him, and he looked at all of them.

 

The Dreamer probably wasn't very big, and it could probably even live on the sides of one of the rusty pillars.

 

Nick inspected all the pillars.

 

Suddenly, Nick's body shook, and he stopped moving forward.

 

In front of him, the pillars seemed to distort and morph into each other.

 

Just a couple of moments later, a terrifying grimace with teeth had been created, and it looked down at Nick with rage.

 

Nick's heart rate rose.

 

'That's the Nightmare! This is only an illusion!'

 

Yet, knowing that it was an illusion didn't help a lot.

 

Nick's terror was still very present and visible.

 

Someone with a phobia of spiders also knew that almost all the spiders weren't even dangerous.

 

Yet, their fear was still overpowering.

 

Nick was in a similar situation now.

 

He knew that the huge grimace floating above him was not real, but he still genuinely felt like he was about to die.

 

Nick's speed increased.

 

It was almost like his disgust for the liquid had vanished as he desperately tried to get away as quickly as possible.

 

"You're going to die!"

 

The darkest voice Nick had ever heard had just spoken that sentence, and Nick felt his mind shiver.

 

Yet, Nick just looked forward at the safe beam of light that was the toilet of the house.

 

"You're never going to reach it."

 

The next moment, Nick saw the beam of light slowly going away from him.

 

Nick's breathing quickened, and he didn't even care that some of the liquid entered his mouth at that moment.

 

He needed light!

 

Nick kept swimming.

 

And swimming.

 

And swimming.

 

Why hadn't he reached it yet?!

 

From the start, the toilet was barely ten meters away from him!

 

That took some seconds, but that was it!

 

Nick was quite sure that he had been swimming for over half a minute by now!

 

Where was the light?!

 

"Hahahahaha!"

 

The dark voice laughed as the light traveled further and further away from Nick until eventually…

 

It was gone.

 

There was no more light.

 

There was only darkness.

 

An endless forest of tall and rusty spires rose from the pool around Nick.

 

But that was it.

 

No matter in which direction Nick looked, he only saw an endless forest of rusty spires.

 

There was no escape.

 

The next moment, the grimace of spires slowly descended, its expression morphed into a malicious smile.

 

And then, it slowly moved towards Nick.

 

Nick knew all of this wasn't real, but he also knew that he would die if he stayed in the darkness.

 

The longer the Nightmare influenced people, the worse it got.

 

Nick turned around and swam away from the grimace.

 

He had to flee!

 

He was going to die!

 

"Hahahaha!"

 

The grimace laughed as it came closer.

 

No matter what Nick did, it was coming closer.

 

Nick closed his eyes in terror.

 

He would die!

 

'I'm sorry, Wyntor.'

 

'But I have to use it!'

 

Then, Nick grabbed one of the tubes of glass and broke it over his knee.

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